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Draft Long-Term Plan 2021-31 Seeks To Accelerate Environmental Progress

Environment Canterbury is seeking to step-change environmental progress through its draft Long-Term Plan, Council Chair Jenny Hughey said today.

The Council’s draft Long-Term Plan 2021-31, included in papers for Thursday’s Council meeting, shows the Council intends to consult ratepayers on two options to increase regional activity across all areas of Environment Canterbury’s responsibility. Both options require an increase in rates.

“Council is deliberately seeking to increase activity to accelerate regional outcomes, a message we are hearing strongly from the community,” Hughey said.

“As well as community expectations, we must also meet a rising tide of Government expectations, including delivering programmes like the new Essential Freshwater package.

“People’s ability to pay has been at the forefront of Council’s discussions, and some of our proposed investment is to meet existing commitments, or to attract funding from other sources, enabling us to deliver more, including jobs that support Covid recovery,” Hughey said.

Of the two options for consultation, Option 1 represents work costing $246.54m – about $46m more than this year.

That includes all statutorily required work and provision to accelerate key projects, including public transport and the Government’s Essential Freshwater package. Of that, $143m would be rate-funded, with the remainder made up of government grants and Council user-pays charges – an average increase of $136 per rateable property.

Option 2 represents work costing $240.19m – about $40m more than this year.

It will deliver all statutorily required work, but compared to Option 1, some projects are delayed, scaled back or not proposed to be funded. Of that, $135m would be rate-funded, with the remainder made up of government grants and Council user-pays charges – an average increase of $110 per rateable property.

“We know this is not an insignificant amount of money, but there is also a price to pay if we don’t continue to take action. These are big decisions and Council is looking for feedback from the community.

"It is important we hear your views. We urge the community to be informed, to consider what is important, and to tell Council what you think,” Hughey said.

Public consultation will run from 8 March to 11 April.

"When consultation opens, you’ll be able to find out more, including how these options could impact on regional council rates by property, and make a submission, at haveyoursay.ecan.govt.nz/ltp," Hughey said.

Consultation will be followed by hearings and council deliberations, with the Long-Term Plan scheduled to be adopted on 17 June.

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